The Problem With Cars

car spiral

This useful graphic summary of what happens when we become a bulimic car-dependent society, appears in the first posting of  Bruce McVean’s The New City lecture given on Monday 11th February 2013 at Cambridge University Department of Architecture.

He makes a good comment in his piece as far as policy strategies in the face of this challenge go:

Many people continue to aspire to car ownership, or view owning a car as essential to maintaining a high quality of life. And who are we to deny them when electric cars will soon wean us off carbon dioxide emitting toxic fossil fuels?

Cleaner engines may reduce the contribution that car travel makes to carbon emissions and air pollution, but they won’t solve the myriad other negative impacts of car dependency that are neatly summarised in the diagram below from the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution’s report The Urban Environment (click the following graphics to view full size). Tackling carbon emissions and air pollution is an essential task, but it’s not the only task – the big villain isn’t the internal combustion engine, it’s the car.

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About the author:

Bruce McVeanBruce McVean is the resident transport and movement specialist  of Beyond Green, “A team of strategists, policymakers, planners, economists, designers, and communications experts who are changing the places we live in, and how we live in them” . He specialises in development and place making. He leads our work on strategic masterplanning, helping design teams and local stakeholders work together to ensure places are designed and run in ways that are truly sustainable. He’s particularly interested in how people get around, helping to design and manage places where walking and cycling are a pleasure.

Before he joined Beyond Green, Bruce was a Senior Policy Advisor at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) where he was responsible for developing and communicating CABE’s policies on sustainable design and climate change, public buildings, health and public space. Before that he managed a number of regeneration projects in projects in Hackney and Lambeth.


eb-abount the editor - 15mar13 - wider


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